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MH Industry’s Trade Shows – Lessons from Other Industry’s Trade Events

April 7th, 2016 No comments

Tony, In a follow up to our discussion, I wanted to review a few touch points we covered regarding the NADA Convention and Expo that could be useful to the manufactured housing industry and its trade shows.

There are many obvious differences between the NADA convention and the one in Tunica or Louisville, but the concept is essentially the same, “To provide value, education, business growth opportunities (best practices) and industry harmony – one unified front to effectively deal with the challenges facing the industry.”

These can be explained in simple terms:

Value

Creating value in a destination conference that gives both exhibitors and attendees a no-brainer decision to leave their business, invest in the cost of travel, hotels and out of office costs associated with the event, knowing they will get a return on their investment through education, best practices and the knowledge gained to improve their business and bottom line.

Education

Bringing in experts in various specific subject matters to provide the valuable knowledge needed to compete in our ever changing business climate. Even if they come from a different industry, many businesses face very similar challenges. Those who do not evolve in this world WILL be left behind.

Business Growth Opportunity (best practices)

Contacts, product exposure, and networking are all ways to learn about best practices. What works for some businesses may very well work for another. Exchanging ideas and communicating with thought leaders also provide education and information not covered in many sessions or seminars.

Industry Harmony

By creating this overall environment it becomes easier to convey the ever changing issues facing the industry today. This continued exposure and spread of this information will get more people pushing the wagon in the same direction supporting the strength in numbers theory which is proven.

By bringing this type of value to convention/conference events is will go a long way towards moving the needle on any fence sitters who may find other reasons to either not attend or just stay for a shorter time period. There is a goal to make the event a stronger draw than the need to get back to the office a day or two earlier. If you can provide that type of value, then attendees and exhibitors will all win.  

Following these concepts, we had strong growth for the convention linked below.

NADA-AutoConvention-creditNADAguides-PostedIndustryVoices-MHProNews-com-

Tony, I have provided a pretty strong blueprint to what I feel may be some of the solutions to help improve the good things that already happen at MH Industry trade shows, to build on the foundation that is already in place. As we discussed, having education each day – not just the afternoon before the show opened – could have been a magnet for dozens if not hundreds of pros to stay longer or come on day 2 or 3 of the event.

Below is a link to the agenda schedule coming at the NADA auto dealer’s event. The education list is a long one, but worth while to review and see what is being offered. I’m in no way saying that this is what the MH industry should cover, but it does show the depth and detail in what’s being presented to an industry that just had record breaking sales in 2015. If MH wants growth records broken too, getting the best possible trade show is a piece of the puzzle for making that happen. ##

http://www.nadaconvention.org/nada2016/Public/sessions.aspx?ID=7840&sortMenu=110003

LennySimsNADAguides-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-Lenny Sims
CBDO
National Appraisal Guides, Inc.
3186 “K” Airway Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Direct Line (714) 619-2062
Main Office (800) 966-6232 x235
Email lsims@nadaguides.com

(Editor’s Note: Every year, numerous comments are given to me person-to-person by exhibitors or attendees about the Tunica and Louisville Manufactured Housing Trade Show. Some are praise, some are suggestions to improve the show and its attendance. Lenny was happy to share his thoughts publicly.

We encourage others to share their thoughtful insights or views on manufactured housing trade shows, or any other aspect of the factory-built home industry. Email latonyk@gmail.com, with the subject line Industry Voices Guest Letter.)

About-Face! City Council Mh Prohibition Reverses Course

October 16th, 2015 No comments

Boy, it is nice when I get to share good news.  Wins for the industry and sharing good news are probably the two best parts of my job, and fortunately for me, those two things almost always go together.

Last night in Huntsville, Texas, the city council reversed course on what started out looking like another bad news day.  A couple of weeks ago the city council met and voted on first reading (they need two readings to make ordinance changes official) to prohibit all manufactured homes from being sited on a lot within the city limits.  Initially they had a small exception for homes going inside communities and for replacement of existing manufactured homes, which incidentally is state law that TMHA worked to get passed years ago.  But other than those two limited exceptions, no more manufactured homes.

The first reading vote was 5 – 2 in favor of the MH prohibition.

A local reporter covering the council wrote a story about the proposed prohibition, and Jenny Hodge with MHI emailed me alerting me about what the council was proposing.  We then pulled titling records and retailer selling records and started contacting retailers with a selling presence in Huntsville.  Thanks to Rob here at TMHA, we were also able to gather some telling data about manufactured housing in Huntsville.  Specifically, we learned that from 2011 to 2014 a total of 843 manufactured homes were sold with the city of Huntsville listed in their address.  MH presence aside the demographics were incredibly telling of a city in real need of more affordable housing, not less.  The median income of a household in Huntsville is $27,362 per year.  Of the existing housing in the city 16.6 percent is more than 45 years old.  Housing supply, specifically affordable housing supply, is clearly constrained because nearly two-thirds of Huntsville residents are renters and in this large renter category 61.8 percent spend more than 35 percent of their monthly income on their rent.  To consider further limitations on sources of affordable housing seems illogical.

But as we all know this isn’t a logic puzzle, it’s politics.  Because this was one of the more rare instances where we actually found out about a proposal before it was final we were able to inform our retailers who would be adversely impacted by the proposed prohibition.  From there those retailers and other citizens who turned up last night at the council meeting to testify against the proposed ordinance took over – and did all the heavy political lifting I might add.

We cannot thank Gary Adamek with Reliable Homes and Les Stone with Clayton Homes enough for the work they did, the time they spent, and the persuasive testimony they provided last night.  These retailers and the results they secured in a near complete reversal by the council (they voted unanimously to continue to allow MH within city limits) once again demonstrates the power of engaged, passionate, local advocacy.

Again, when it comes to local (city and county) politics it is imperative that local constituents and businesses are there to advocate for their industry.  When this happens in a timely manner the industry’s chances of securing a victory increase many fold.

I hope that Gary and Les’ success last night serves as an example to all those in our industry about the power of local political engagement.

Everyone has heard the term, “it takes a village,” and that applies to political advocacy.  The power of timely information coupled with individuals willing to engage locally on behalf of their interests, the interests of the industry, and the interests for consumers who want affordable housing options, can prevail when properly deployed.  I’m happy to report such a deployment occurred last night. ##

http://www.texasmha.com/news/featured/about-face-city-council-mh-prohibition-reverses-course

Manufactured Homes? Mobile Homes? Housing? Factory-Built Homes? What Should We Call our Homes?

July 13th, 2015 No comments

Hollywood,

For forty plus years, the MH industry has tried to change the mobile home perception and sophisticate the MH product by changing the name.  When business was sooo good, newbie MBA’s came in and screwed  things up as that was their job which was to make changes and expose what is wrong.

The new group along with industry insiders claimed that the name “mobile home” was not proper.  They said the name is disgraceful and trashy like “trailer.” Industry vets went along with new culture hires and agreed to the name change. The purchasers or those who live in the MH didn’t care at the time and still don’t. 

We changed the name to manufactured housing and after decades of pounding manufactured housing into the public’s mind, most new MH purchasers and MH dwellers still used the term mobile home, so then we decided to change the name to just housing and that did not work as there was no identity to our product, so then some geniuses said to change to factory built homes and so on and so on – so many names.

Its-EvolutionaryTrailerHouse-MobileHome-ManufacturedHome-modular-manufacturedhomelivingnews-comWB-660x330

The image above was not part of Barry Cole’s Letter to the Editor, but the graphic  is linked to an article which is related to this topic. Barry’s article also follows others on the subject from our June Issue Featured Articles.

Still after 4 decades, the public still relates to the mobile home name and per all data, mobile home is used on the internet as much or more than manufactured housing.  Thus, we should never down grade the mobile home name of past which did so much good during a very special time in our industry and especially with so many MH customers still living in them.

So what do we do?  You and I have had numerous conversations as to industry concepts and image and that is why we both have always used the name MH.

You are correct in using MH for the industry’s product name in all of your writings.  It is much easier to say, write and change to.

The recreational vehicle changed to RV and everyone knows the RV name.  The same should be used with MH.

Keep up the good work by using MH in your publications and you will realize more and more using MH.

Barry

barry-cole-rv-mh-hall-of-fame-manufactured-home-insurance-services-mhisBarry Cole

Manufactured Housing Insurance Services (MHIS)

RV/MH Hall of Fame Inductee – Class of 2014.

CMHI’s “Jack E. Wells Memorial Award” for distinguished service to the manufactured home industry.

Past Chairman RV/MH Hall of Fame

(Editor’s Note: this message to L. A. “Tony” Kovach (whom Barry and some other industry pros like to refer to as “Hollywood”) is an on-the-record commentary  by Barry on the article, linked below. Numerous other ‘off the record’ comments have come in as well. As always, your comments – on or off the record – are encouraged.)

http://ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com/cancer-cures-and-todays-mh/

A Cup of Coffee with…Barry Cole, is linked here.

A Texan’s MH Industry Call to Action

April 8th, 2015 No comments

As they say on television, “we now interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you late breaking news.” In this case we shift from our primary focus on the Texas Legislative Session to news coming out of our nation’s Capital.

The government affairs team and leadership of MHI has informed TMHA that H.R. 650 is expected to come to the House floor next Tuesday, April 14, for a vote. Following my comments is the call to action from MHI’s chairman on this critical piece of legislation.

Let me quickly update everyone on what has recently occurred in D.C. On March 25 H.R. 650 was voted out of the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 43-15. Notably of the 43 votes in favor of the bill, 10 were from Democrats further demonstrating this bill’s bi-partisan support.

We were thrilled to see Texas Congressman Williams, Marchant and Hinojosa all add their names as co-sponsors to the bill. Additionally, subcommittee chairman Rep. Naugerbuer and chairman Hensarling, both also from Texas, spoke during the committee hearing voicing strong support for H.R. 650.

So far so good, but then late last week an article was published that was clearly intended to cast harmful aspersions on specific companies in our industry. This effort was a joint project of The Seattle Times and the Center for Public Integrity. One could conclude by the timing of this article following the successful passage of H.R. 650 from committee, but before it is brought to the full House floor for a vote is, shall we say, less than coincidental.

Welcome to the NFL.

Like hand-to-hand combat…no one ever said passing federal legislation is easy, nor is it for the faint of heart.

This is why we are passing on Nathan Smith’s/MHI’s call to action between now and next Tuesday. We need to make sure we contact as many of our congressional leaders in the House to voice our support for H.R. 650.

For this legislation to become law it has to pass the House and Senate, and then not be vetoed by the President. Passing the House is a critical leg of this three legged stool we must construct.

What’s at stake in this legislation?

Would you like to once again be able to assist your customers through the buying process?

Do you think it will benefit MH home owners – and thus referrals from those home owners – for them to be able to get access more financing on homes under 20K or 25K?  Then ask for support for this bill.

Would you like to actually tell customers which lenders will even consider their credit application rather than pointing them to a lender list and when they ask for help have to shrug your shoulders and leave your customer adrift to figure it all out on their own?

Would you like to see lenders re-enter the lending space for homes under $25,000?

Would you like to be able to assist customers to navigate the lending application process, especially those customers who may need assistance from a bi-lingual salesperson or retailer?

Would you like to conduct your retail selling operations focused on best serving your customers and not be in constant worry that you or your salesperson might have slipped up ever so slightly and crossed over some unclear line during the course of a conversation that can leave you exposed to liability for years?

I’d ask you to think about these questions when you are deciding if you want to spend your valuable time contacting your congressman and encouraging others you know in the industry to contact theirs.

The clock is ticking.

We need to all come together as a unified and strong industry to voice our support for H.R. 650. Our opposition is fiercely attacking this bill and our industry by working against us in D.C., leveraging media plays, and we anticipate attempting to file damaging amendments on the floor intended to splinter support and neuter the needed changes in the bill.

This is a critical time. Thank you. ##

dj-pendleton-mhpronews-com-executive-director-texas-manufactured-housing-association-DJ Pendleton
Executive Director, TMHA

 

Published with Permission. The message referenced from Nathan Smith is linked here.

 

 

Wow!

December 20th, 2014 No comments

A drowning MH retail lot has been turned into a viable business, in just 90 days. Okay, now that I have your attention let me explain. Several of the businesses that I own currently and in the past, have been profitable. I have been in the manufactured home business for only 2 years as of October 2014. Our retail center is positioned between Dallas and Houston, in a town with a population of less than 4,000.

After struggling for 2 years doing it “my way,” I hired a professional marketing and sales coach. WOW!!! What a difference this guy has made. You may be thinking that “he,” the sales coach, just pointed out the obvious and had us do what we knew deep down we should be doing . . . and you would be correct.

However, as Paul Harvey said, “here is the rest of the story” (or part of it ;-).

I met our coach two years ago in Tunica at the manufactured housing show. I even purchased a book he was selling. So why did it take 2 years to call him for professional help?

Being a hard-headed Texan may be part of it; however, I thought I could just do what I had been doing and the business would grow. My retail lot looked good enough and surely people would want to buy their new home from me.

Flags were flying and the doors were open 6 day a week. Hundreds of cars drove past our lot every day, and that was the problem, they just drove on by.

There were days when not one customer called or came in to our dealership. I had been floating the business for 20 of the past 24 months. My way was not working, and I only had enough capital to last about 6 more months.

After many sleepless nights, and much praying, I picked up the book I had purchased in Tunica and began reading. A few days later, I made the call.

Hiring a marketing and sales coach to rescue my struggling MH Retail business was put into play. After all, professional sports teams have coaches. The coaches train the team during the week and on game day.

I wanted our team to become a professional Manufactured Housing sales team that was successful. Bi-weekly virtual sales training began immediately. After the first session with our sales coach, we all began to see MH in a completely new light. Phrases like, "affordable luxury," "systems-built" and "custom homes," were phrases that had previously never come to my mind about MH.

To say our sales coach opened our eyes is an understatement. He not only educated us on marketing and sales, but he began to systematically motivate us in ways that are hard to express.

He began with a process. Yes, a precise process that even ebbs and flows with real life situations.

The excitement has become obvious to all of our employees. One recently commented that he has seen more homes sold in the past 60 days than the previous 6 months, and another commented on how the attitude is undeniably so positive that it is exciting to be at work.

Breaking old habits is hard and yes, sometimes painful; however, the proof is in the results.

Sales have exploded, and with so much growth we are recruiting two more sales agents for our sales team. With the right training, attitude and practice, success is very much attainable.

I will begin to share our real life sales experiences in my next column, “WOW”! ##

Dwayne-Somerville-Fairfield-Homes-and-LandDwayne Somerville

Fairfield Homes & Land

Manufactured Housing: Underutilized and Misunderstood

December 10th, 2014 No comments

What will it take for manufactured housing, the principal source of unsubsidized, affordable homes in the United States, to reach its potential?

Limited and expensive financing options make life even more difficult for the financially vulnerable residents who live in manufactured housing DHS_post_MontanaHome_11.03_.25_nhi=credit-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-(MH) communities. The continuing consolidation of ownership is taking a toll, and the industry just can’t seem to shake the outdated, negative stereotype of a rusted, flimsy structure with a dog chained to the front porch.

Manufactured homes, frequently mischaracterized as mobile homes or trailers—even though once placed, they're rarely moved—house over 18 million Americans. Most are just getting by; the median annual household income of residents is $30,000. The homes are much less expensive to rent or own because they’re built in factories, so they cost less than half the estimated $94-per-square-foot national average for new site-built homes.

Not only is manufactured housing misunderstood, it’s underutilized. “We don’t have enough public housing to fulfill our needs,” says MH industry expert Lisa Tyler of Paris, Tennessee. “Manufactured housing presents a solution. It’s inexpensive, energy efficient, and a great value. There’s a lot of opportunity for growth in the industry, but a lot of obstacles, too.”

One such roadblock is the way most MH is legally classified as personal property rather than real estate, according to a recent report on manufactured housing from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. That means MH homebuyers pay higher loan rates, 6.79 percent on average, and have fewer consumer protections than owners of site-built homes, who paid 3.6 to 4.2 percent in 2012 for a conventional mortgage with a 30-year fixed rate.

And then there’s the persistent image problem. Industry insiders are dismayed that manufactured housing continues to be stigmatized, despite the fact that factory built homes constructed after 1976 must adhere to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code that provides guidelines and oversight relating to quality, safety, and durability.

“Today, manufactured homes are often built with higher quality, more energy efficient and sustainable materials than site built homes, and many are set in lovely, tree-lined communities with responsible, hard-working residents," says Tyler. “The mainstream media tells us that people who live in manufactured homes are 'trailer trash,' drug dealers, or wife beaters. Sadly, many people still have trouble getting past that horribly unfair stereotype.”

Mom and Pop: Unsung Heroes

Residents and owners of manufactured housing communities are also grappling with a wave of consolidation that began in the 1990’s, and continues unabated. Sun Communities Inc., for example, just announced it bought seven MH communities in the Orlando area for $257 million. So far, investors are mostly targeting larger communities, says L.A. “Tony” Kovach, publisher of leading trade publications MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com. “But we’re going to see things evolve over the next five years, as investors come knocking and begin targeting smaller sites, those with 150 units or less,” says Kovach, who's based in Lakeland, Florida.

These sites are traditionally the territory of small, local owners and operators, informally called Mom and Pop’s.

“The majority of parks were created by private owners, who manage this valuable resource for low and moderate income people who want a home of their own,” says Paul Bradley, the founding president of ROC USA, a nonprofit based in Concord, New Hampshire that promotes resident-owned communities (ROCs). “But they don’t get credit for it. These stewards of affordable home ownership are unsung heroes.” While smaller owner-operators have their flaws, “most of them are truly decent people who’ve managed their communities respectfully,” adds Bradley.

Meanwhile, many of these MH owner-operators are looking to retire, or get out of the business due to economic pressures and shifts in the industry. As fewer of their adult children want to take over the family business, more Mom and Pop’s are selling to larger operations, which, in turn, sell to investors. That’s when the fortunes of residents can change quickly.

“The difference between how a consolidator runs a business and how we did is one of values, frankly,” says Marc S. Seigle, a retired attorney and former owner, along with his family, of a MH community in Elbridge, NY. Seigle says they raised rents on tenants from $190 to about $300 over 25 years—just enough to cover inflation, taxes and insurance costs.

“There’s always a great deal of talk about the importance of quality affordable housing, but it’s pretty much eyewash—just talk,” says Seigle. “I saw an article in The New York Timesabout Wall Street investors making their fortunes in this industry. I thought, they suddenly discovered they could do what the rest of the world does with folks who don’t have much clout—gouge them. I’m saddened but not surprised to see it.”

A Better Way

Owner-operators of MH communities who're ready to exit the industry don’t have to sell to consolidators. There’s a better option, says Bradley. Residents can collectively buy the land, and create a ROC. Bradley’s organization, ROC USA, has helped secure community ownership for over 150 resident corporations to preserve and improve affordable communities, and help residents build their individual assets. Impressively, none of ROC USA’s communities have gone bankrupt, into foreclosure, or been resold.

Seigle’s family was the first to partner with ROC-USA, back in 2008. He says they received their asking price, and there was no downside to the deal. “I spoke with a consolidator, and it was quite clear to me they’d jack up the rents if we sold to them,” says Seigle. “The fact I was able to sell to my former customers, so they would have some control and I knew it would be well maintained—made it even a sweeter deal.”

Former MH community owner George Everett was also pleased with his ROC USA transaction. He sold the 32-unit Green Acres Cooperative, tucked deep inside the Rocky Mountains in Kalispell, Montana, to the nonprofit in 2010. “I know many of those who live in the community real well. Ninety-five percent are good, hardworking people who didn’t deserve for a developer to come in and suddenly raise the rent so high they’d have to leave their home.”

“I’m a conservative person, but I’d do it again,” says Everett, a former realtor, and a Republican who served in the Montana legislature for eight years. “I still drive past there and talk with the manager sometimes. It seemed to work out well for everyone.”

dana-hawkins-simons-nhi-org-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-75x75-Dana Hawkins-Simons directs NHI's Opportunity Housing Initiative, a project that supports the expansion of long-term affordable housing programs and policies. She is an award-winning journalist and former senior editor of U.S. News & World Report. Reprinted on request, as first published in Rooflines,

(Photo of the Green Acres Cooperative by Lorie Cahill.)

Manufactured Housing Institute Responds to Doug Ryan-CFED commentary on CFPB report on Manufactured Housing Finance

October 6th, 2014 No comments

Tony,
As the national association serving as the voice of the manufactured housing industry, Tim (Williams) asked that MHI respond to your inquiry. Our official response is provided below.

Doug Ryan and CFED have been consistent supporters of manufactured housing and continue to recognize manufactured housing as an important source of affordable housing for low- and moderate income families, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

Unfortunately, they fail to recognize the valuable role retailers and sales representatives have historically played in helping consumers identify financing alternatives. Ryan's message insinuates the industry is somehow preventing consumers from selecting less expensive real estate-secured mortgage loans. He says, "many borrowers of chattel products could have qualified for traditional, less expensive mortgages but did not get the chance simply because they were not offered or made aware of the options.”

mhi-logoAs the regulations are currently written—this is what MHI is attempting to fix in HR 1779/S 1828—the retailer cannot help the customer find a mortgage lender or inform the consumer of alternatives. The consumer needs the retailer’s help to become informed of the financing alternatives.

Today, a consumer might contact a dozen conventional mortgage lenders without locating a lender willing to assist them with a low balance mortgage. Prior to the CFPB Loan Originator compensation rule (CFPB defines sales commission from the sale of a home as meeting the compensation definition under the Loan Originator rule), a retailer representative could discuss financing alternatives with consumers including conventional mortgage lenders who offer low balance conventional mortgage loans.

Since the Loan Originator rules became effective, it has become nearly impossible for a retailer to assist consumers without inadvertently becoming considered a Loan Originator and becoming a covered person under Bureau regulations. CFED wants consumers to be informed of financing alternatives, but the people who have the best opportunity to inform them are effectively barred from having those conversations.

Ryan adds, “Indeed, one clear way to address this issue would be for industry to support titling reform that would give families the option to title their homes as real estate and the opportunity to access real estate loans."The manufactured housing industrysupports legislation in all states to provide the alternative of titling manufactured homes as real estate where the home is sited upon land owned by the consumer and when financing is needed, the consumer pledges a first lien position in the land.

jason-boehlert-manufactured-housing-institute-(c)mhpronews-com-75x75-.gifJason Boehlert
Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
1655 North Fort Meyer Drive
Suite 104
Arlington, VA 22209

Related Links:

1) – MHI's Response to CFPB's Report (Editor's Note, the MHI link includes the full CFPB report as a free download)

2) – MHARR's Response to RV legislation and CFPB's Report on Manufactured Housing

3) – CFED's Doug Ryan sounds off on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Report on Manufactured Housing and MH Financing

4) – CFPB Report on Manufactured Housing Signals Areas of Future Concern

    (Editor's Note: The views expressed by Jason Boehlert are his own and/or those of the MHI, and should not be construed to be the views of MHProNews or our sponsors.Other viewpoints on this or other industry topics are encouraged.

    MHProNews plans anIndustry in Focus Reportusing extensive comments from a range of industry professionals on this topic. Watch for it mid-week at the news/reports module link above.)

    CFPB Report on Manufactured Housing Signals Areas of Future Concern

    October 6th, 2014 No comments

    On Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released a white paper summarizing their research on the manufactured housing industry. The Bureau relied upon information compiled by various surveys, data available pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”), and voluntary submissions of information by institutions in the manufactured housing industry. Although the CFPB acknowledges that they are still seeking additional information on the industry, the report, among other things, provides a detailed description of the manufactured housing market, the demographics of consumers who reside in manufactured homes, and the impact of the current regulatory climate on the industry.

    The CFPB also developed seven “key findings” from this research, many of which likely will come as no surprise to those actively involved in the manufactured housing industry. For example, the Bureau explains that manufactured homes are more likely to be located in non-metropolitan areas than site-built homes, and that manufactured homes typically cost less than site-built homes. These types of findings lead the Bureau to conclude that the industry is “an important source of affordable housing, in particular for rural and low-income consumers.” On the other hand, however, they believe that “these same groups include consumers that may be considered more financially vulnerable and, thus, may particularly stand to benefit from strong consumer protections.”

    With respect to the specific protections that may be necessary, the CFPB declines to make any conclusions and, in fact, leaves certain questions open for further research. For example, the white paper describes how consumers in the manufactured housing industry can either utilize real-property financing or chattel financing, and explains some of the short-term and long-term trade-offs that exist between the two options. However, it appears that the Bureau is concerned with, and wants more information on, “[t]he extent to which consumers are aware of these trade-offs and how consumers weigh them.” This information indicates that the CFPB will pay particular attention to whether or not borrowers are adequately informed about the trade-offs associated with pursuing chattel financing instead of real-property financing.

    The report does acknowledge that some of the title XIV Dodd-Frank Act amendments, including those made to the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (“HOEPA”) and the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), expand protections for consumers in the manufactured housing market. They also briefly describe the actual and theoretical impacts of these laws and the underlying regulations. For example, they admit the possibility that additional disclosure requirements and other burdens could increase the cost of extending credit to consumers seeking financing for a manufactured home. Prior to the rules being finalized, the CFPB received comments expressing concern that the proposed HOEPA high-cost thresholds would disproportionately impact small-balance loans that are often used to purchase manufactured housing. Many in the industry believe that these standards, which have been in effect since January 2014, are in fact reducing the availability of credit in the manufactured housing market because these loans are now classified as high-cost.

    Similarly, the new Loan Originator Compensation (“LO Comp”) rules in TILA may also be increasing the consumer’s cost of obtaining credit for a manufactured home. Unlike realtors, manufactured housing retailers are not exempt from the LO Comp rules. In order to avoid being considered a loan originator, and to avoid having to go through an expensive licensing process, manufactured housing retailers are often not referring potential borrowers to specific creditors that they know are willing to extend financing for a manufactured home. This has resulted in consumers being left unaware of which creditors are willing to extend credit and the requirements each creditor has for approving a loan. Consumers, therefore, are submitting more applications and, because of the lack of important information, are more frequently being needlessly denied.

    Despite acknowledging that the manufactured housing industry still has concerns about the impact of the CFPB’s new rules, the Bureau declines to accept that the rules have adversely impacted the market. Instead, they “will continue to monitor the effect of [their] rules on the manufactured housing industry and on consumers who purchase or seek to purchase manufactured homes.” In the meantime, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which would address at least some of these concerns, remains in Congress.

    If nothing else, this white paper should serve as a warning that the CFPB has taken an interest in the manufactured housing industry. The Bureau is continuing to monitor the impacts of the new mortgage rules on the manufactured housing market, which could signal that the Bureau may be open to making adjustments to the rules that would reduce burdens on creditors and lower the cost of credit for consumers. However, they have also tipped their hand to at least one area of ongoing concern. Creditors originating chattel mortgages should pay particular attention to the amount, and types, of information that is being provided to borrowers and should ensure that they are fully informed of their financing options and the costs and benefits associated with each.

    ##

    Republished with permission. This article first appeared in Financial Services Litigation & Regulatory Compliance Alert, a publication of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.

    About the Authors:

    Jonathan_R_Kolodziej-jd-bradley-arant-boult-cummings-llp-posted-industry-in-focus-mhpronews-com-75x75-Jonathan R. Kolodziej, JD, is an associate in the Birmingham office where he is a member of the firm’s Financial Services Litigation and Compliance Team. His regulatory compliance practice involves assisting some of the nation’s largest financial institutions and mortgage companies as they implement, and demonstrate compliance with, various obligations imposed on them by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and state banking regulators.

    bill-matchneer-jd-formerly-hud-cfpb-now=bradley-arant-boult-cummings-llp-posted-industry-in-focus-mhpronews-com-75x75-

    William “Bill” W. Matchneer, JD, recently joined the Washington DC office as senior counsel. He retired from the CFPB in February, where he had been one of the team leads for the regulations implementing the Dodd-Frank mortgage requirements. He previously spent ten years at HUD as manager of the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Manufactured Housing and Senior Counsel for Regulatory Enforcement.

     

    Related Links:

    1) – MHI's Response to CFPB's Report  (Editor's Note, the MHI link includes the full CFPB report as a free download)

    2) – MHARR's Response to RV legislation and CFPB's Report on Manufactured Housing

    3) – CFED's Doug Ryan sounds off on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Report on Manufactured Housing and MH Financing

    4) – Manufactured Housing Institute Responds to Doug Ryan-CFED commentary on CFPB report on Manufactured Housing Finance

    (Editor's Note:  The views expressed by Messrs. Kolodziej and Matchneer are their own and/or those of the organization they work for, and should not be construed to be the views of MHProNews or our sponsors. Other viewpoints on this or other industry topics are encouraged.

    MHProNews plans an Industry in Focus Report using extensive comments from a range of industry professionals on this topic. Watch for it mid-week at the news/reports module link above.)

    CFED’s Doug Ryan Sounds off on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Report on Manufactured Housing and MH Financing

    October 4th, 2014 No comments

    cfed-logo-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-.gifThe CFPB report supports what CFED and other nonprofit organizations have said in recent years:  Manufactured Home loan borrowers are vulnerable to expensive products and are often not well-served by the current financing market due to the lack of competition, lack of liquidity and the costs of the loans.

    I have no doubt, as the Bureau reported, that many borrowers of chattel products could have qualified for traditional, less expensive mortgages but did not get the chance simply because they were not offered or made aware of the options. Indeed, one clear way to address this issue would be for industry to support titling reform that would give families the option to title their homes as real estate and the opportunity to access real estate loans.

    The report supports, quite explicitly, the need for the Bureau’s current rules to remain in place and enforced. As the Bureau wrote, “the manufactured housing borrowers being charged interest rates or upfront fees above the HOEPA thresholds are the very populations that HOEPA is designed to protect."

    I also believe that this report, and related efforts by industry and CFED and its nonprofit partners, offers an opportunity to develop new loan products, expand the pool of lenders and, ultimately, lower the costs of borrowing.

    CFED absolutely believes manufactured housing must be part of the affordable housing solution in communities across the US. Far too many advocates and policy makers are unaware of the quality and aesthetic appeal of manufactured homes. There is no doubt industry has made great strides to modernize the energy efficiency, the design and the value of the homes. Quite simply, the CFPB’s report underscores the need for the financing to be modernized, as well. ##

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    Doug Ryan
    CFED
    dryan@cfed.org

     

     

    Related Links:

    1) – MHI's Response to CFPB's Report (Note, the MHI link includes the full CFPB report as a free download)

    2) – MHARR's Response to RV legislation and CFPB's Report on Manufactured Housing

    3) – CFPB Report on Manufactured Housing Signals Areas of Future Concern

    4) – Manufactured Housing Institute Responds to Doug Ryan-CFED commentary on CFPB report on Manufactured Housing Finance

    (Image credit: Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED logo.)

    (Editor's Note: As with any opinion column, the views expressed by Mr. Ryan are his own and/or those of the organization he works for, and should not be construed to be the views of MHProNews or our sponsors. Other viewpoints on this or other industry topics are encouraged.

    MHProNews plans an Industry in Focus Report using extensive comments from a range of industry professionals on this topic. Watch for it mid-week at the news/reports module link above!)

    Here comes the Senior Tsunami!

    September 4th, 2014 No comments

    Yesterday, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University and AARP released a major study on the growth of 50+ households. For those in the MH industry, the study is worth a close read.

    Of note, in the next 20 years, the population aged 50+ is projected to increase from 109 million to more than 132 million. We knew this was coming.

    Shocking to me was that homeownership is more prevalent for those in their 70s, with more than 80 percent of them owning homes, compared to only 70 percent of those in their 50s. Are those in their 50s likely to become homeowners later in life? Will they buy a home in our communities? Perhaps they will.

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    Given the income levels and retirement plans for most, I’d say this study gives us confidence there are a lot of future customers nearing our doorsteps.

    Take note, though. The MH that’s currently in place and with which I’m familiar is not exactly what’s needed. The reports states, “Much of the nation’s housing inventory also lacks basic accessibility features (such as no-step entries, extra-wide doorways, and lever-style door and faucet handles), preventing older persons with disabilities from living safely and comfortably in their homes.”

    We know manufacturers can do all of these things. Is that what you’re ordering?

    MH is well positioned in terms of entry price. Again, the report says, “High housing costs currently force a third of adults 50 and over — including 37 percent of those 80 and over — to pay more than 30 percent of their income for homes that may or may not fit their needs, forcing them to cut back on food, health care, and, for those 50-64, retirement savings.”

    But, many 55+ communities don’t really operate with the level of support and services that the report says will be needed.

    The report notes support services of the sort that some MHCs do deliver are too rare. We see informal support services — ride shares, home repairs, checking in, snow removal — in many of the 55+ plus resident-owned communities with which we work. We can do a better job of linking our members to services that are generally available to low-income seniors. I’m guessing most community owners could do better. It will matter more and more; one in eight people will be over 75 in 2040!

    The report is long and in depth, but definitely worth reading and sharing. Enjoy! ##

    Paul Bradley is the founding president of ROC USA, LLC, which has helped 67 resident groups inpaul-bradley75x75-roc-usa-president-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews- 14 states purchase their MHCs from willing sellers since 2008. Contact him at pbradley@rocusa.org.

     

     

    (Editor's Note: A video interview with Paul Bradley is found here, and you can find A Cup of Coffee with… Paul Bradley, linked here.)

    (Infographic credit: AARP Foundation)